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Belen Jesuit twin brothers reach men’s pairs rowing final

Alexander and Nicholas Keenan hope to place the perfect exclamation point on their high school careers Sunday in the USRowing Youth National Championship at Nathan Benderson Park.

The twin brothers from Miami Belen Jesuit pushed their way into Sunday’s final of the men’s pairs by finishing second in their semifinal race on a searing Saturday afternoon in a time of 7 minutes 14.654 seconds after winning their first-round heat Friday.

The Miami Rowing Club also will have a boat in the men’s pairs final after Emil Andreassen and Antonio Ramos-Rivera finished third, behind Belen Jesuit in the same semifinal race, covering the 1,500-meter course in 7:16.956.

“We’ve been dreaming about this for a couple of years now,” Alexander Keenan said. “It’s great to finally get to see it happening, making it all the way into the finals.”

The Keenan brothers, who indeed are identical right down to their facial hair, will be roommates at the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania this fall.

And, of course, they will both be on the rowing team.

“It’s great to be able to row with my brother,” Nicholas Keenan said. “Our communication is perfect in everything.

“I know he’s giving it everything on every stroke. He knows the same about me.”

Alexander Keenan added, “We also have a lot of trust in each other.”

Belen Jesuit’s men’s lightweight 4+ boat, consisting of Alejandro Seda, Jonathan Mendez, David Gonzalez, Joseph Perez and coxswain Santiago Ugas, also made it into Sunday’s finals with a second-place semfinal finish in 6:56.431.

Bound for Georgetown University in the fall, Belen Jesuit’s Hector Formoso-Murias qualified for Sunday’s final in the men’s singles by finishing second in his semifinal in 7:31.633.

“It means a lot to me to be at these nationals,” Formoso-Murias said. “I’ve wanted to race a singles scull here since I was in eighth grade.”

After the race was postponed by rain Friday, Belen Jesuit’s men’s lightweight 8+ boat finished second in its heat Saturday. That crew is scheduled to row in a semifinal at 7 a.m. in Sunday’s first race in hopes of reaching the finals in the afternoon.

In addition to men’s pairs, Miami Rowing Club also placed its women’s lightweight 4+ boat into Sunday’s final. Elizabeth Ray, Isabel De Vengoechea, Kamila Vasquez, Alexandra Duffy and coxswain Natasha Murcia finished second in their semifinal in 7:39.706.

The Miami Beach Rowing Club also qualified a boat for Sunday’s finals when Alex Martinez and Jules Kramer grabbed third place in the men’s lightweight doubles in 7:06.218.

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